ENTRY #17 - Isaac Rocha

  When I was in Denver I was interviewed by Channel 9 news as they covered 1IN700's arrival. They asked me questions like "Why is this so important to you?" and "What makes this project special?" It was funny because I have thought about the answer to these questions for months. I have always just known exactly what to say and for the first time in my life I just let my passion speak for me, I held nothing back. That used to not be the case for me when I was younger. Being shy is an understatement for young Zack. Words didn't come so easy. Which brings me to my meeting with Isaac. I mentioned in the interview that every time I meet a new cleftie, I feel like I am staring at a version of myself. Isaac, even though rather quiet most of the time during our shoot, reminded me a lot of pre-teen Zack. 

  As a young kid dealing with something you cannot hide from, you tend to hide your voice instead. Quietly shifting back in forth in your mind, sorting through what to say and what isn't worth saying. It's this mental somersault most cleft affected are familiar with. Ya see, I get Isaac more than he thinks. He's got this demeanor about him that is perceived as strength. Clefties carry the weight of other people's perspective often. It can become so intensely heavy we retreat to the confines of our mind. I watched Isaac observe silently while I spoke with his mother Cassandra Rocha. He had the typical teenage angst towards his mothers cheek kisses and head rubs, but deep down you could see that he loved his mom. How could he not?! Cassandra is a Co-Founder and CEO of Dash for Smiles, a Denver based cleft organization that does some incredible work. She took up responsibility (as many mothers do) to become a die hard cleft advocate. So much so that she now helps bring awareness to all of Colorado. Be sure to check out their website and if you happen to be in Denver at the end of July, you absolutely HAVE to come out to the annual event. Who knows, you may just see me there ;)  http://www.dashforsmiles.org/

  The power behind a mother's desire to do something great for her child is indescribable. Cassandra is a true testament to what it means to be cleft strong. As for Isaac, your silence doesn't read as weakness, it screams fortitude. From one cleftie to another, stay strong brother. I will be here to help you rise.